Murder Mysteries: Why Something So Wrong Is So Right—and a Giveaway!

Lauren and Gnarly

Lauren and Gnarly

Lauren Carr is the best-selling author of the Mac Faraday Mysteries, which takes place in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland. Each installment of Lauren’s hit mystery series, starting with It’s Murder, My Son which was released in June 2010, has made the best-seller’s list on Amazon. Twelve to Murder, the seventh Mac Faraday mystery, was released in February. The eighth installment, A Wedding and A Killing, will be released in September.

Also receiving rave reviews, Dead on Ice, released September 2012, introduced a new series entitled Lovers in Crime, which features prosecutor Joshua Thornton with homicide detective Cameron Gates. Real Murder is the second installment in this series. The third installment will be released June 2015.


Several months ago, a writer I was mentoring called me after a long absence.

At the point that our communication had broken off, she was going through the final edits of her murder mystery. She had her synopsis and book cover. Her debut book was just about ready to go into formatting when, suddenly, this writer seemed to drop off the face of the earth.

Finally, she called me to drop the news. She had abandoned her murder mystery. The Reason: She had decided to go back to church and her new church lady friends had convinced her that it is a sin to write murder mysteries.

Excuse me! I replied, “Did you tell your church lady friends that your mentor is a middle-aged church lady and that my pastor is a fan of my murder mysteries?”

As I explained to this young writer, there’s a wide variety of styles and focus when it comes to murder mysteries. Most likely, her new friends are assuming that her books revolve around the evil of the killing rather than pursuit of capturing the evil doer.

Some people, especially those who have never gotten into murder mysteries, make this same mistake. They assume that authors who delve into the world of murder mystery writing are virtual serial killers who take out their psychopathic urges on their laptop only because kidnapping and killing people in real life is illegal.

Okay, I admit it, I’ve murdered some ex-bosses and nasty ex-friends who have betrayed me in my books. But, look at it this way, in real life, I can only kill them once. Whereas, on my laptop, I can kill them over and over again in various different ways.

Gnarly, May 2014

Gnarly, May 2014

Here’s the thing that some readers aren’t aware of when it comes to murder mysteries: There are several different sub-genres within this genre. Some of them focus on the graphic violence and gore of the murders themselves. There’s more murder than mystery.

Others, like mine (and this writer) focus on the puzzle of solving the murder.

Okay, so I like puzzles. Why the fascination with murder mysteries? Is it some sort of morbid temptation that draws me toward this evil act that is perpetrated on a fellow human being and want to write about it?

I don’t think so. I hate blood, gore, and violence. When I happen to have the news on, and the commentator warns, “This clip you are about to see is quite graphic, so parents, have your children leave the room,” I win the race with the little kids out of the room.

I don’t watch horror films because I can’t stand to see blood. My husband was forced to watch Jeepers Creepers by himself. My big canine buddy Gnarly wouldn’t even watch it with him.

Yes, it may appear that writing books in which people are killed is a contradiction to my claim that I can’t stand excessive violence, but really, it’s not.

Most murder mystery authors love puzzles … and murder is the ultimate puzzle. It’s the two-thousand piece puzzle that goes beyond the five-hundred piece. It’s the 3-D challenge over the flat piece.

The very first puzzle was a murder mystery. Who killed Abel? Yes, it was an easy mystery. I mean, there weren’t that many suspects and Cain had no alibi. But it was still a mystery. Why would Cain kill Abel? Thus, jealousy became the first motive for the commission of murder.

A Wedding and a KillingThere’s a lot more at stake when it comes to piecing together the puzzle of a murder. Someone’s life has been stolen from them. There’s a killer on the loose and he may strike again. Failure to find the solution to this puzzle means evil wins and justice is lost.

No, not all murder mysteries are about a fascination with violence, sin, and evil. Many are about good people pursuing truth and justice—sometimes with great odds stacked against them.

While my former protégé’s new friends found her love of not only reading murder mysteries sinful, other church ladies, like the ones at my church, embrace the mystery in my books—

Which explains why many members of my church were excited to when I set my latest Mac Faraday Mystery, A Wedding and a Killing, in a church much like mine.

Scheduled for release September 13, A Wedding and a Killing has Mac Faraday and his friends investigating the murder of a church trustee, whose body is discovered by Gnarly (who else?)



Not wanting to wait until their big day to start their life of wedded bliss, Mac Faraday and his lady love, Archie Monday, decide to elope to the little church where his ancestors had all married—along the tranquil shore of Deep Creek Lake. However, before they can say, “I do,” the sanctuary erupts into chaos when Gnarly finds a body in the church office.

Mac and his team discover more questions than answers. What kind of person walks into a church and shoots a man for no apparent reason? How do you solve the murder of a man who has no enemies in the world? Which of the seemingly kind-hearted church members is really a cold-blooded killer?

Then, there is the all-important question, how long do Mac Faraday and his lady love have to wait to get married?


A Wedding and A Killing is now available for
pre-order on Amazon! Pre-order your copy today,
or enter to win an e-book copy upon its release.
Three ebook copies of A Wedding and a Killing
will be given away. Enter the giveaway by naming
your favorite mystery set in a church, or featuring
a detective connected to the clergy.

The winning names will be drawn on Monday evening,
August 25th, and the ebooks will be sent out to
the winners in early September.